John Hopkins on Sun, 22 May 2011 15:47:27 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> ISEA 2011 fees

Ei GÃvan --

personally I am not so much interested in that for the moment, and would rather
opt for going to smaller and more DIY organizations, with a fresher attitude and
focus, and not burdoned by its predefined mission, curriculum or status. there
are a couple of those gathering places but too few and what we need here is more
diversity for sure...

Statements like this bring me to wonder why it is in the first place thatpeople are compelled to seek mass audiences, mass accumulations of people in order to either be told what is interesting, or tell Others what is interesting. The most interesting question in this is the scalar value. How many people do you need in order to have an inspiring and life-changing encounter?

I would suggest that you need only one other. And, proceeding from there, there is a strong negative correlation between deep human encounter and greater numbers. Clearly human social systems have collectivity and one-speaking-to/for-many-Others as core requirements for the functionality of the system, but why should any particular individual see this as a necessity -- to participate in the one-to-many manifestations? While, yes, as an audience member, I have experience modestly interesting expressions coming from a podium impress themselves on my Self; and yes, having an sizable rapt audience is a remarkable experience, but what is that in the scope of life? Is it onlyego fodder, to be placed in a position of speaking to many ears? Is being anear in that situation a dereliction of individual responsibility to think?

It is merely, as Ted Kaczynski suggested once upon a time, the drift towards the soothing confirmation of hyper-socialization? This being a drift away from idiosyncrasy and a trust in one's own life experience and the relevance of that as it accumulates as wisdom in the individual?

Martin Buber suggests that it is in the activated space between the Self and the Other where reality, life, comes to be. This of course doesn't mandate where those encounters might happen (i.e., at a conference) but it conversely suggests that they can happen at any point where two humans cross paths.

Personally, these days, like GÃvan, I seek the intensity of small numbers. Perhaps conference/symposia attendance is just another cost of participating in transnational new media "Road Warrior" networks -- where we are forced to optimize interaction 'costs' with the network when a big event brings many nodes together. We are victims of our own enthusiasm to reach out, perhaps, rather than making smaller and more sustainable lives which contain a private intensity unreachable through any collectivization...


John Hopkins, Researcher
Centre for Creative Arts
La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086; skype: chazhopkins
AU Mobile - +61 (0)40 696 4610
US cell - +1 928 308 6466

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